Tails of spring – springtails!

At the BioX science day today; we setup a PrakashLab booth where everyone could come and talk to lab members. Although; things started slowly – eventually it picked up pace. During this time; Christine caught a fantastic sample which – from first glance – looked like an ant. It was alive and stuck to tape in a paper slide. Take a look yourself. 

Now, the surprising part comes in when I looked at the tail region. What do you see here? 

It clearly looks like a tail; and was moving back and forth in a live organism. 

The tail acts like a little spring, which gets tucked under the legs. At the right moment – the tail (spring) is released leading to a massive jump equivalent to a human being jumping as high as an Eiffel Tower. 

Can you imagine just standing on your feet, and thinking of jumping a 5-6 level (~ Eiffel Tower) tall building. But in terms of body length; springtails do this jump with almost no effort. 

Shout out to Christine Kurihara; another Foldscope user for discovering and carefully mounting this incredible sample. Here is a little clip of when/where she found it. 

In the past, I have also shared another species of spring tails that jump on the surface of water – you might enjoy comparing notes between these two species: 

Jumping spring tails – Foldscope on a mountain top


INaturalist cross post here: http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/3432705



Ps: David Attenborough – a hero for every naturalist; has a tiny segment on spring tail jumps. It’s shot so well, that I could not resist sharing it. Next time; I have to look for this “grooming fluid dispenser”!!  Once you see this video, life will never be the same again. 

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply